Principal Blog Issue 13 2017


Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of Caroline Chisholm College,


Have you ever heard someone say “Oh, I’m not creative”, or “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”? It seems that people think you can divide the world into those who believe themselves to be creative and those who believe they are not. I think this is false, and sells short the capacity we all have to be, act and think creatively. Saying "I’m not creative” is like saying “I’m not a problem solver” or “I am not interested in much”. While there are many definitions of creativity, I see creativity as the capacity to engage with the world around us and to imagine the possibilities it contains. I also like Albert Einstein’s definition: Creativity is intelligence having fun. There is much talk in the community at the moment about the future of work and of citizenship in Australia, and the type of challenges our young people will no doubt face when they leave school and have to fend for themselves.


One constant refrain from researchers, commentators and employers is that, in the near future, we will need to be adaptable problem solvers who can approach unfamiliar situations and respond creatively. This seems to be in stark contrast to some of the ways that school, and in particular, the HSC tests students. In the HSC, memorisation and processing appear to be two of the most prized skills - not creativity or adaptability. Caroline Chisholm College celebrates creativity in all of its forms, whether it be in an art class, or a mathematics class. We encourage students to take appropriate risks with their learning and to think broadly about problems and ideas. Our Creative Arts subjects are a rich and rewarding way for our students to prepare for an uncertain and fast changing future. Rosemary Gorman from NESA (formerly Board of Studies) recently wrote that “Creative Arts students experience and develop the complex skills required to create and test ideas, generate creative works with confidence, shape inquiry and to critically evaluate and reflect on what they do. Developing an independent forward thinking, learning mindset is considered critical to the future world of work.” That is why we teach creativity and intellectual risk taking, not just in the arts, but across the curriculum.


This is certainly the season for the Creative Arts at Caroline Chisholm. Our college has enjoyed the Dance, Drama and Music showcases and we are looking forward to the Visual Arts HSC exhibition this Thursday from 4:30pm. On each of these occasions, our students demonstrate what it means to engage with their world and to imagine the possibilities it contains. I know how grateful they are for the opportunity to work with passionate teachers of the arts, and we are proud of their achievements. Our Year 12 students are currently presenting themselves for the HSC practical examinations, and the markers are really in for a treat. We look forward to celebrating the students’ results.

Our students are encouraged and challenged to be creative in other aspects of their school life, too. Our brand new student leadership team spent last Friday working as a team to imagine the possibilities for the college in 2018. These enthusiastic and capable young women have already embraced the challenge of finding innovative ways of giving life to their mission as leaders for all students. Next week, they will be blessed and commissioned at our Leaders’ Mass at Padre Pio parish church. Congratulations to all of these students, and to their families who have had such an obvious impact on the quality of their characters and the sincerity of their generosity.


Students are currently engaged in so many creative pursuits it would be difficult to name them all. Our Robotics teams  competed at the University of New South Wales in the Robocup. Our PDSSSC Dancers competed at the eisteddfod this week. Our five Tournament of the Minds teams will be at Western Sydney University on Sunday for the annual tournament. Our Year 11 leaders are engaged in a science day at the Global Citizenship Future Earth Day. On the weekend, our Agriculture Team will be presenting our learning and our animals at the Penrith Show, and our netball and athletics teams have done us proud at recent carnivals. As you can see, there is never a shortage of opportunities for our students to be fully engaged in the life of the college and to develop and express their creativity. After all, everyone is creative and should use their gifts to make the world a better place. We pray this every day in our college prayer.


Finally, you would have heard the tragic news of the 7 year old boy, Julian Cadman, who was tragically killed in the attack in Barcelona. He was enrolled in a Catholic primary school in our Diocese. Understandably, his loss is being felt heavily by his family and his community. In solidarity, let us pray for Julian and for peace in our troubled world.


Lord, we pray for the power to be gentle; 

the strength to be forgiving; 

the patience to be understanding; 

and the endurance to accept the consequences of holding to what we believe to be right.

May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome hatred.

We pray for the vision to see and the faith 

to believe in a world emancipated from violence, 

a new world where fear shall no longer lead people to commit injustice, 

nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.

Help us to devote our whole life and thought and energy to the task of making peace, 

praying always for the inspiration and the power 

to fulfil the destiny for which we and all people were created


We ask this prayer through Christ Our Lord.



Mr Greg Elliott